Lancaster Takes Opener at Somerset, 7-4
Butch Hobson trusted his son.
The son delivered.
Coaching third base, Hobson held up Sean Halton at third with two outs. The younger Hobson, K.C., stepped in against left-hander Rudy Owens and slammed a three-run homer to right, lifting the Lancaster Barnstormers to a 7-4 victory over the Somerset Patriots Thursday evening at TD Bank Park.
Josh Bell led off the Lancaster second with a double over the head of third baseman Scott Kelly, and Halton matched it with a nearly identical two-bagger. Owens (1-2) struck out Blake Gailen, but Mike McDade singled to left. Hobson hit Owens’ 0-1 pitch well over the boards in right for his fourth Atlantic League home run.
Tanner Peters (4-3) threw no-hit baseball for the first four innings, but the Patriots got to him in the fifth. Trayvon Robinson picked up his second walk of the game, and Rob Kral took another with one out. Scott Kelly reached on an infield single to the hole at shortstop. Peters uncorked a wild pitch inside and low to Vinny Zarrillo, allowing the first run to score. Zarrillo would strike out, but Mycal Jones brought the Patriots to within a run with a triple to the gap in left center.
Peters was able to retire Aharon Eggleston on a comebacker to quell the rally, and the Barnstormers would answer with three runs in the sixth.
Gailen got it started with a single to left, and Hobson walked with one out. Jeff Kobernus flied to center for the second out with Gailen taking third. Kevin Ahrens singled to left center for a 5-3 lead.
Controversy ensued. Caleb Gindl rolled a squibber up the first base line. Kral jumped on it, but his throw to first was to the inside of the bag. First base umpire ruled that Bryan LaHair pulled his foot, giving GIndl the bag and the ‘Stormers their sixth run. Ahrens, who had sprinted to third on the play, scored on a wild pitch.
From there, the bullpen was asked to hold it. Justin Jackson retired all four batters he faced, but singles by Kelly and Jones around a walk to Zarrillo produced a run in the seventh off the combination of Greg Smith and R.J. Hively.
Pete Andrelczyk worked around a leadoff infield single in the eighth, and Cory Burns struck out the side in the ninth for his 15th save.
Lancaster will send Mike Lee (2-1) to the hill on Friday evening against right-hander Will Oliver (0-1). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:45.
NOTES: Halton extended his hitting streak to nine…Gailen doubled in the seventh, his 86th two-base hit as a Barnstormer, tying him for second place with Michael Woods…Jutt Hileman is the all-time leader with 99…Jackson has retired the last 14 batters he has faced…The ‘Stormers are 3-1 at TD Bank Park this season.